It has been an unusually long time since I last posted but having caught up with work and the inputting of online bird survey returns it is time to reminisce over recent sightings. Amongst the recent survey work was a chance to check out the local heronry and whilst the grey heron nest numbers seem to be down slightly on last year it was still great to be amongst these big birds with their range of prehistoric calls and croaks.
Grey Heron Big and just a bit reptilian
Whilst trying to remember which nests I had and hadn’t counted I had a calling flyover oystercatcher the second of this rare local bird in as many weeks. The woods which the herons nest in was carpeted in blue bells and it was great to watch orange tip butterflies and holly blue butterflies flitting in and out of the sunlit groves. Both species are still missing from the butterfly collector page but will be added if they ever stop still long enough for a photo. As well as the oystercatcher another red white and black bird also called and flew around the trees in the form of a great spotted woodpecker.
Blue bells doing their best to carpet the ground and fill the air with heady scent.
On route home from the Great Melton Woods I finally manged to catch up with my first patch swallow and Yellow hammers the latter singing boldly in Market Lane. Next survey was a new one for me on two sites which I have inherited out between Bawburgh and Marlingford. The Yare river twists its way between the two creating perfect wetland and lakes for waterbirds and it is these that are surveyed in the WeBS survey carried out for the BTO. A few weeks ago I visited my first site and was treated to a whirl of swallows and sand martins along with common terns and gulls. last weekend the same birds were present but the black-headed gulls were much more settled on some 88 nests. One particular nest struck me as unusual as it was about twenty times bigger than the other stick nests towering like a huge funeral pyre. Presumably owned by the king gull.
King Gull the first
As well as the village favourites there were other species which don’t feature on the birds of Hethersett yet but given their close proximity must turn up eventually. The count included great crested grebes and waders in the form of a common sandpiper and a pair of little ringed plover. The latter feature in the video below which was handily published by the BTO and partners a few days before my visit.
Whilst my six year old assistant kept the scores for me adding Canada geese up and Greylags and Eygptian geese we were treated to a fly through kingfisher. followed by a red kite which was mobbed by common terns.We were both happy with the return on our time that nature had given us but I am certain that although there were a few ducks about in the form of mallards and gadwall that my assistant would probably have preferred the highlight of the 2006-2007 counts pictured below. Maybe next time?
Drake mandarin in all his glory